Motorhome hire agency
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A motorhome hire agency is a company which hires privately owned motorhomes to customers. This practice is common in the UK, where several agencies dominate the market. Motorhome hire is a type of vacation rental.
Motorhome hire agencies emerged in the UK in 2005, after motorhome hire as a practice began to take off with holidaymakers in the UK. In recent years, motorhome hire agencies in the UK have become increasingly popular for two reasons. Firstly, many UK motorhome owners have sought to earn an additional income from their motorhome due to recession-related issues such as job losses. This led to many motorhome owners fearing the repossession of their vehicle. Secondly, UK holidaymakers were looking for a cheaper alternative to overseas travel and travellers from outside the UK benefited from a favourable exchange rate.
How it works
The concept of motorhome hire is similar to that associated with holiday cottage rentals. Motorhome owners list their vehicles with a hire agency. The vehicle is typically given an online profile and marketed by the hire agency.
Bookings come through the agency and the company deals with all the financial matters and insurance. The customer is then able to collect the motorhome from the owner and the owner is paid a fee.
Most UK agencies work on a commission basis. For example, hirer X may pay £1000 for a 1 week hire. The motorhome hire agency will then subtract the VAT and insurance costs before paying a commission percentage to the motorhome owner. The percentage paid varies between different companies with some paying 50% or lower, and some up to 75%.
Whilst the vehicle is on hire with the agency it is protected by their insurance and breakdown cover. In the event of damage or an accident, the motorhome hire agency will retrieve the necessary cost of repair from the hirer.
Any motorhome owner can register their motorhome with a hire agency provided that they can supply it in clean working order to customers.
In the UK, residents are required to declare income from the hire of motorhomes, whether privately or through an agency, to HM Revenue and Customs. This applies whether the overall earnings are below or above the taxable threshold.
The first major motorhome hire agency industry development came in 2006 when the first online availability search was implemented by Motorhome Group. This was also coupled with online booking; allowing customers to book and pay for privately owned motorhome over the internet. At the same time, motorhome owners could log onto an online profile to track the status of their bookings and edit their motorhome information.
Another development which was introduced in 2009 is SMS notifications. Text alerts are sent to motorhome owners when their vehicle receives a booking with the motorhome hire agency.